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Title Chemical keys to an understanding of life processes
Subject Biochemistry ; Nucleic acids; Proteins
Description Twenty Second Annual Frederick William Reynolds Lecture.
Creator Smith, Emil L., 1911-
Publisher Extension Division, University of Utah
Date 1958-01-13
Date Digital 2008-05-29
Type Text
Format image/jpeg
Digitization Specifications Original scanned on Epson Expression 10000XL flatbed scanner and saved as 400 ppi uncompressed tiff. Display images generated in PhotoshopCS and uploaded into CONTENTdm Aquisition Station.
Resource Identifier,564
Source LD5526.U8 n.s. v.49 no.11
Language eng
Relation Digital reproduction of "Chemical keys to an understanding of life processes," J. Willard Marriott Library Special Collections
Rights Digital Image Copyright University of Utah
Metadata Cataloger Seungkeol Choe; Ken Rockwell
ARK ark:/87278/s6c8277g
Setname uu_fwrl
Date Created 2008-07-29
Date Modified 2008-07-31
ID 319868
Reference URL

Page Metadata

Title Page8
Description 8 TWENTY-SECOND ANNUAL REYNOLDS LECTURE thetic processes can begin with water, carbon dioxide, ammonia and a few inorganic salts. Organisms such as animals which cannot use radiant energy must obtain this energy from foodstuffs whose ultimate source is the green plant. Thus, man and other animals require in the diet larger molecules, such as carbohydrates, fats and other substances. The third point is that, with very few exceptions, all the chemical processes which occur in living cells are catalyzed by highly specific enzymes. There are certain advantages which accrue to living organisms by possessing highly specific enzymes. One is the fact, already mentioned, that relatively stable molecules are rapidly converted to other substances. Another is that a molecule is converted to a definite product, that is, only certain pathways exist. We picture the cell as containing a smoothly operating chemical factory in which the necessary nutrients derived from the diet are converted into products which can be used to build new enzymes, thus replacing worn-out machinery. Unlike man-made machines, the living cell can perpetuate and regenerate its own parts, and this is all accomplished through the intervention of these very specific proteins that we call enzymes. Needless to say, enzymic catalysis is not only specific but extremely efficient. The rate at which enzymes can cause chemical change is fantastic, indeed. To illustrate the order of magnitude of this process, let us cite a simple example. All of you have probably used hydrogen peroxide at one time or another as a local antiseptic in treating a minor cut. You have observed the bubbling which occurs when peroxide is poured on the wound. The chemical change is the conversion of hydrogen peroxide into water and molecular oxygen, and this process is catalyzed by an enzyme called catalase, which is present in the blood. One molecule of catalase can catalyze the decomposition of several million molecules of hydrogen peroxide in one minute. This is a far greater velocity than that of any ordinary chemical reaction at low temperature. Moreover, the enzyme is not used up in the process and will continue to function for a relatively long time. The efficiency of enzyme-catalyzed reactions is something which is still not fully understood, although our knowledge has grown tremendously in recent years. In effect, the problems of enzyme chemistry can be summarized in asking the following questions:
Format image/jpeg
Identifier 013-RNLT-SmithE_Page8.jpg
Source Original Manuscript: Chemical keys to an understanding of life processes by Emil L. Smith.
Setname uu_fwrl
Date Created 2008-07-29
Date Modified 2008-07-29
ID 319849
Reference URL